Brutal days: full-on busy season, and we’ve just swapped warehouses in the midst of it. 15, 16 hour days. Sand fleas, dropped beams, lost keys. Thank god for music.
If you give up on absolutely everything outside work; if you just work til you drop- eventually you surface into sunlight, you look around, and by god you finally fucking got it done. We’ve almost completely settled into the new place, should be more or less operational again. We have lost scarcely a workday, while tripling our footage!
Tomorrow he leaves for a conference in Africa, I’m manning the monster while he’s away. Which is fine except that ....
I think too much. My trouble, when there’s not a chance at the border of the workday to write, is that inevitably I turn all David-at-the-dentist- “is this forever? Ah, I’m wasting my life!”
Because when I don’t write, I start to panic that I’m giving up, giving in.
But there isn’t any way out of this but through. If I can just turn off my brain for a while and fucking grind. Things will slow down again in August or so. A person can do anything for half a year. And of course, I'll find the time to work on stories. I'll make the time. I always do.
And I shouldn’t worry. It’s a cowardly thing, anyway, worrying.
Now I’m worrying I worry too much.
Andrew slips into bed next to me. “They’ve got another one on the way-”
I can hear the smile in his voice, I curl up against him. “Oh yeah? They must love having a family, that’s great.”
“You think you’re ready for kids, beem beem?” he says, teasing me; he knows I’m not quite ready yet.
If we started a family, unless I was making enough from my books to justify writing at least part time, my little obsession would go out the door. There just wouldn’t be enough time.
Oh, my sweet love: I want to give you a family, I do, but my heart’s blood goes cold at the idea of giving up. I don’t know who I’d be, what I’d be, if I gave up. I don’t think I have it in me to give up.
But at what cost this selfish, stupid obsession? It’s a folly of course. It isn’t even real. He is real. The warehouse is real.
I think about college athletes. The ones who didn’t make pro, but who tasted it just the same. You can’t ever forget that taste.
And yet... even if I can’t be an artist, I can live my life as a work of art. I could do that much.
My Andrew does. He does this like breathing. This boundless generosity in him; this lust for life he has.
But me, at work, somehow I allow myself to feel so beholden to tasks; I hardly remember to breathe. It’s just grind, grind, grind. End of the workday: shower, we make dinner, fall into bed. And that’s it. A whole day, gone. Weeks, months. Y----s. Oh, it’s the scariest thing.
What a brat I am, to want more, when really we are so lucky, so safe, so healthy. Etc, etc.
But this fifteen year old girl in me. When will she die?
P.Z. West's first novel, EVENING’S LAND, is a Library Journal Self-e Selection, winner of the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation Award and recipient of the Carol Marie Smith Memorial Scholarship for the NOEPE Center of Literary Arts.
Pauline West's books on Goodreads
Candlemoth: A Holy City Romance
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Candlemoth Volume 2: How To Spend It
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Candlemoth Book 3: A Twist of Fate
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Stalker: A Gothic Thriller
ratings: 4 (avg rating 4.25)